Book Review: Hire Me or Fire Me
Although author Alexander McDonald seems to think that the first in his series of books, Hire Me or Fire Me, is a novel, it is pretty clear that he is writing more of a memoir of his life as a resentful Canadian immigrant from Scotland. As a young lad his parents moved the family for job reasons, and a young McDonald deeply misses his romanticized Scottish boyhood. The rest of the book details his dislike of Canada both in the school system and the employment situations.
As the title suggests, the bulk of the book focuses on his many jobs in the sales field, starting with the typical short-lived and ill-fated teenage jobs at a gas station, a funeral home and McDonalds, and continuing with cars and pharmaceutical sales. Largely, the book suffered from a lack of focus, as it seems to be a memoir posing as a novel, but also tries to bring in little tidbits of wisdom gleaned from the sales world and constant interaction with people. He can’t quite find the voice he wants, as it is largely first person with a lot of references to pop culture - that don’t add any value, in my opinion - but also tries to tell the story of people he encounters. Most of them seemed to be from a rather narcissistic, holier-than-thou (or more Scottish than thou, anyway), slimy salesman perspective that only served to heighten my irritation with the man, until the last story. The story of Walter had a completely different tone, the voice was humble and appreciative of the experience. I would have preferred the whole tone of the book to be written like that last story. Hopefully, Mr. McDonald will decide to edit his books either into a completely fictionalized account of a salesman, write a sales technique and people-reading book that gives tips and tricks illustrated with stories from his experiences, or an actual straight and acknowledged memoir, because the combination just doesn’t work.
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